With voting for the 2018 Speed51 Short Track Draft presented by PFC Brakes now underway, we decided to take a look back at the very first draft in 2004.
Do you know who was selected first in that draft to become the first ever number-one pick in the Speed51.com Short Track Draft? It was a driver who goes by the name of Ryan Moore. At the time, he was a 20-year-old driver looking to climb the ladder to the top of the motorsports world.
In 2004, the Southeast corps of drivers were the favorites for the number-one spot, but in the end it was the upcoming star from the Northeast who came from a great racing family that had made a legacy on the NASCAR Busch North Series.
Racing alongside his legendary father Kelly Moore out of their shop in Scarborough, Maine, Ryan Moore was in the middle of a rise in the Busch North ranks as he began to turn consistent finishes into wins.
Fourteen years later and now at the age of 34, Moore looks back with a greater appreciation of that honor.
“Hard to believe, time flies I guess,” Moore said. “I remember it clearly for sure, and it was a pretty cool deal. At the time it was so new, I don't think it had the prestige that it does now, but still it was countrywide and it was a big deal. There were a lot of good short track racers back then. At the time we ran the Busch North Series and we would travel out west for the Toyota All-Star Showdown against all the guys out there. So, with all those good guys it was a pretty cool deal to win it.”
Throughout the years, Moore has gained a greater appreciation from all the number-one picks that have since been chosen.
“It's really neat, but sometimes you forget about it now being so many years later, especially when you have a wife and kids of my own who are growing up,” Moore stated. “But then you sit back and think about it, it's pretty cool to be the first number one. I'm glad you guys reminded of me of it and to enjoy it while it's going on.”
Presently, Moore now lives in Mooresville, North Carolina in the heart of all of stock car racing. However, his racing career is now just a weekend hobby. But like so many goals for so many people, things change.
“It's what I wanted to do as a career, but just like thousands of other people it just didn't pan out,” Moore said. “I got close. I grew up racing, having fun and loving it but then when you move down South it's more of a business. Money fed the whole deal and I kind of lost sight of the fun part of it. I also didn't want to pay my way into it so to speak. We got the doors open through the good runs that we had and the things like the Short Track Draft and all the exposure that we got. That led to some opportunities, I kind of got my foot in there, but I could never push the door all the way open. It just wasn't meant to be. But it's all good, I have no regrets. I have a lot of good memories and created a whole lot of great friends. It was all well worth it.”
Running Super Late Models part-time, Moore has been able to find what he had lost a decade ago in his racing career: fun.
“I have definitely, especially with the Super Late Model racing. My dad and I do it all together, Jamie Lorfano worked with us at Moore Racing throughout my childhood. He was my dad's crew chief, then he was mine, and he ended up moving down here and getting a job in racing. It's been really fun; we've been able to reunite. We have our Super Late Model cars that we work on it at night. It's kind of like what we used to do back in the day, so we have a really great time doing that, and going back to the race track together, kind of like the family thing like it used to be when we got started.”
While Moore has struggled at times, he has still managed to keep up the fun with his small team. The tough times have also helped him gain an appreciation for the good times.
Recently, Moore and No. 74 team broke a hard-luck streak back in February with a feature win during the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway (FL).
“We struggled a little bit in the last year. It's still fun, but it's Super Late Model racing. You're racing against teams with full-time crew members who put a lot into it every single week. For us to do what we do when we have the time to be competitive and be a threat, it makes it really rewarding when we do good and when we win.”
Despite his racing career not taking off, Moore found another reason to stay down south. He currently runs the southern half of the family trucking business, R.C. Moore.
“I'm on with our Southeast terminals. We have terminals in Maine, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida,” he explained. “I oversee our offices in the Carolinas, that's my daytime job. R.C. Moore is a family-built business, my grandfather started it when he was young. Just like the racing side I take a lot of honor and pride in his name and what he started. What my dad and uncle have built it into, there's a lot of pride, I'm proud to be a part of it and hopefully we can continue to grow it and keep up with our racing hobby as long as we can.”
Family is Moore’s greatest drive both on and off the race track. Even though he lives a great distance from the family home in Maine, he is still willing to give all his support, including to the racing effort up North.
“My dad is getting older everyday but he’s still really good behind the wheel. He's getting ready as we speak for the PASS race at Oxford this weekend, so he's still got a lot of pride in that. The Moore’s have always been a threat no matter where we've been so hopefully we can keep it like that for a long time.”
One that that Moore will be able to keep for a long time is the honor of being the first ever number-one pick in the Short Track Draft. Nobody will ever be able to take that away from him.
For more information on the 2018 Short Track Draft presented by PFC Brakes, follow the hashtag #51Draft on Twitter.
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Steve Tapley (Facebook)